2nd-Calendar Year Herring Gull with bright irises

It is not unusual for second-calendar year European Herring Gulls in September/October to be seen with a light iris (see examples here, here, here, and here), but the following individual really stood out when I saw it last week:

Second-calendar year European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) with bright iris. Westkapelle, The Netherlands, 4 October 2012.

Second-calendar year European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) with bright iris. Westkapelle, The Netherlands, 4 October 2012.

Second-calendar year European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) with bright iris. Westkapelle, The Netherlands, 4 October 2012.

Maybe the effect was particularly striking because of the rather dark feathers on the head, darker than you would perhaps expect for an individual of this age. It was actively moulting its primaries and secondaries, perhaps a bit slower than is the norm for this time of year, with first-generation P10 still present.

In flight, active wing moult can be clearly seen. Note that P10 is still present. Westkapelle, The Netherlands, 4 October 2012.

In flight, active wing moult can be clearly seen, perhaps a bit retarded? Westkapelle, The Netherlands, 4 October 2012.

With 2nd-calendar year Herring Gull in the background, showing a more traditionally colored dark iris and lighter head. Westkapelle, The Netherlands, 4 October 2012.

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